Need to know: Nelson Mandela loved Canada

The legendary South African held former PM Brian Mulroney in high regard


Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press

Prime Ministers do believe in things. The guy who currently lives at 24 Sussex, Stephen Harper, believes in Israel and is widely known as one of that country’s closest and truest friends anywhere in the world. Politics may play a role in Harper’s courtship with the Jewish state, but people who know him say the affection comes from a deeply personal place. Brian Mulroney, who fought against South African apartheid and clashed with some of the powers of the world in the process, also believed in something.

Mulroney believed in Nelson Mandela. Today, as the world mourns the passing of the legendary South African, Mulroney’s role in apartheid’s demise echoes. We’re reminded of his friendship with Mandela, and the indelible impact he had on such an iconic life. “We regard you as one of our great friends because of the solid support we have received from you and Canada over the years,” Mandela once told the former PM. High praise, to be sure.

Stephen Lewis, the former Ontario NDP leader and celebrated anti-HIV/AIDS activist, also counted Mandela among his friends, by way of a bond he’d formed earlier with Graca Machel, Mandela’s wife. Writing in today’s Toronto Star, Lewis reminds readers of Mandela’s enduring curiosity about Canada, and Canadians. He constantly asked about Mulroney (“my friend Brian”), Lewis says, inquiries that were “almost to the point of an endearing obsession” with the former PM.

Because of Mulroney’s, and Canada’s, strident opposition to apartheid, Mandela addressed the Canadian parliament before any other. Mulroney, writing in this morning’s Globe and Mail, was jubilant in recollection. “Politicians are rarely so unanimously seized by the power of an occasion such as his speech to our Parliament,” he recalled. “It was one of the proudest moments of my life to escort him into that cheering chamber.”

Yesterday, as Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal MP Irwin Cotler and Green Leader Elizabeth May paid tribute to Mandela’s life, the House was again mesmerized in unison.

Some things never change.


What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail Mandela.
National Post
Toronto Star Mandela.
Ottawa Citizen Mandela.
CBC News Mandela.
CTV News Mandela.
National Newswatch Tim Harper: Senators are engaging in a brazen scandal cover-up.


What you might have missed

THE NATIONAL Acrobats. When Canada hosted a large conference of international parliamentarians in October 2012, the federal government paid Cirque du Soleil nearly $200,000 to perform during the meetings’ opening ceremonies. The gathering of parliamentarians was the largest ever hosted on Canadian soil.
THE GLOBAL Yemen. A suicide bomber and wave of gunmen attacked a military compound in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital, killing 52 people—including soldiers, doctors, nurses, patients and staff who hailed from around the world. Among the dead was a judge receiving treatment. Al-Qaeda may be responsible.


Need to know: Nelson Mandela loved Canada

  1. Mulroney….one of our greatest PMs, whatever the misanthropes in the Reform/Con party believe….and Mandela, a global icon.

    • You have got to be kidding. Mulroney presided over a corrupt and mean spirited government that laid the ground work for both the Bloc Quebecois and the Reform Party.

      He came to power under the steam of an arms dealer’s cheque book, he rolled the dice on Meech Lake and almost pulled our country apart in the process. He inflated an unfortunate clash at Kahnestake into a military invasion, he left office to sit on the boards of directors for companies that benefited directly from his economic policies and he took paper bags full of cash at airports and hid them in US safety deposit boxes after winning a law suit against Canada for daring to investigate those very actions. He destroyed the PC party you seem to be harkening back to, and left Canada with such a deep deficit we had to endure a decade of cuts to get back out.

      If he did a couple of statesmanlike things along the way, fine, he deserves credit for those — I salute his stand on apartheid — but that hardly makes him one of our greatest PMs.

      • Canadians have to stop the partisan twaddle and look at the benefits to the country. This isn’t a hockey game you know.

        Mulroney backed Mandela, got rid of our operating deficit, and lowered the MST, changed it’s name and made it visible. Canadians
        were unaware they were even paying it.

        He brought in Free Trade,abolished FIRA, abolished the NEP, and held a national referendum.

        The Mulroney caucus and cabinet of 1984 was one of the least bilingual in Canadian history, with a significant number of Quebec MPs and cabinet ministers who spoke no English, and few English-speaking members who spoke French.

        The cabinet also had a pro-Western bias. Cabinet ministers from Alberta were more powerful than they had ever been before.
        The items on the agenda drawn up by the Western premiers at
        their annual meeting shortly before the Mulroney government’s election were systematically ticked off.

        Mulroney got 2 back-to-back majorities

        So the west thanked him……by creating Reform.

        • Mulroney ballooned the deficit, and he also made across the boards cuts that disabled certain services. Chretien/Martin reined in the deficit with drastic cuts to transfer payments.

          The MST never went away, the manufacturers helped themselves to the differential and we just paid 7% on top of the same prices.

          The west was completely irate with Mulroney, for instance over the choice of a more expensive contract to service CF 18s in Montreal instead of the lower and better bid in Winnipeg. Why do you think the PCs lost so many seats in “the west” in the next election? Are you blaming that massacre on hapless Kim Campbell?

          • Mulroney didn’t “balloon” the deficit. That was entirely Pierre Trudeau. And the only reason the Liberals were ever able to balance the budget was because Mulroney made the tough decision to implement the GST. The same GST the Liberals lied about abolishing.

        • By the way, I don’t think my post, which included specific examples, deserves to be called “partisan twaddle” especially since I’m not sure which party I’m favouring while discussing the impact of the leader of a now defunct party.

          • This last one is again ‘partisan twaddle’. Apparently you didn’t live through that era…..either that or you weren’t paying attention.

            Mulroney’s choice of company was because it was Canadian, not British. He got rid of the operating deficit….and went for free trade to get ahead of the main deficit

            Kim Campbell was female…..something Canadians weren’t ready for.

            What you are Toby…is wishy-washy.

          • I was there, I watched it all, and I can’t believe that you are actually blaming Kim Campbell or some lack of readiness for a female leader on the part of Canadians. Brian Mulroney left the PC house falling down and the new resident wasn’t able to prevent its collapse. I’m not wishy washy, I know pure bullshit when I see it.

            These attempts to rehabilitate the image of Canada’s most corrupt prime minister are as absurd as the current free pass being given to the young Trudeau by his supporters, or the constant attempts to excuse the many failures of the current prime minister by his supporters.

          • or unions that excuse any and all union behaviour or NDP that think the poor are automatically going to vote for them …

          • Kim was the most popular PM in Canadian history when the election was called…..then Reform attacked, and as always appealed to the basest things in people. John Tory ran her campaign into the ground, and beyond that she told the truth, and got attacked for it.

            You’re mushy NDP when you attempt to be anything.

          • Kim Campbell was doing good in the press until Frank Magazine ran a picture of the clapped out old Volvo that she left parked on the street in Vancouver when she went to Ottawa.

            And that would have been fine except she left it parked on the street for over 3 years.

            Yep, Kim Campbell, she was a winner Emily.

          • Take the weekend off, Q.

        • “Malroney lowered the MST, changed it’s name and made it visible.”

          Smoke and mirrors Emily:

          a)The old FST/MST was based on the manufacturers wholesale price, say $50 and the rate was 12%. That would generate a tax of $6
          b) The GST is based on the final retail price that as a rule of thumb is twice the wholesale price, say $100, and the rate was 7%. That generates a tax of $7

          So Emily what you’re claiming as a lower tax was actually a tax increase of 16%

          And Emily, the MST was on manufactured goods. So Emily, if you’re a greedy tax gobbling monster like Malroney and you wish to wipe out Canadian manufacturing with free trade, then there is an absolute need to replace the tax and that’s what he did.

          • Utter rubbish, Q.

          • Afraid not Emily! And Malroney took extraordinary steps to push that filthy tax through. He stacked the Senate under Section 26 of the Constitution.

            Section 26 Emily. That’s desperate buddy.

          • Emily Wikepedia describing the thing is no good. You have to do the arithmetic.

            The GST generated a 16% increase in tax proceeds (approx) over the thing it replaced. Plus it was on a much wider base, it applied to almost everything.

            It was fraudulently presented Emily, by an Irish git. The Tories found themselves wiped out on account of it.

          • John your temp is from the middle ages…..don’t even pretend you know anything about math.

            I have no interest in the reichwing.

            In Aisle Six, Godwin’s Law has just kicked Emily

            “Reichwing” eh Emily?

            Good for you cheeky. Godwin’s Law (Chuckle)

          • There is a corollary John….Godwin’s Law doesn’t apply when you’re actually talking about a reich.

          • No corollary Emily.

            By the way will you and Chief Theresa be junketing over for Nelson Mandella’s funeral?

            You know they made a big mistake when they cremated Layton so I’ve been thinking it might not be a bad idea to send Nelson off to a taxidermist.

            You might check with your pal Chief Theresa she usually hires one on for the Moose hunt.

          • Ok Emily, was auch immer Sie sagen

    • Nelson Mandella was a violent communist revolutionary who should never have been released from prison.

      So he was a global icon all right. So is Charley Manson.

      • You’ve spent too much time in Florida.

        • Ah Emily, clear sky and about 70F as we speak.

          Oh and Emily, reports are that when Whinnie sued Mandella for half on the divorce, she was after $5 million.

          So doesn’t it sort of make you wonder how that good old man managed to salt away $10 million. He and Malroney must have been exchanging investment advice.

          • Good…go surfing.

            Don’t come back.

          • When you start spouting German, and reading World Net Daily, you need sleep.

            If you believe any of it, go surfing….Okefenokee is a good place.

          • Emily, you’re the one started talking German. I was only trying to make you feel at home.

            But on the matter of WND, Joe Farrah is a very nice man.

            Nelson Mandella on the other hand was a jailed terrorist.

            Maybe this business with Locherbie is how Mandella picked up that $10 million. He probably got it from Gadaffi.

          • Nite Jamboy….

          • Emily, I’ll bet that when Malroney picked up all that cash from Schreiber, it wasn’t for himself at all.

            Malroney was likely just a camel running around picking up terrorist money for Mandella.

            For Mandella to have gathered up all that loot he had to have help and we all know that Brian Malroney is an honest man always trying to help the downtrodden.

  2. The word for Harper’s relationship with Israel is not friend but “enabler”.

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